Tag Archives: anxiety

Are You Mad At Me?

1 Nov

Oh, hello everyone. How have you been? Feeling the crushing anxiety of the upcoming election? Did you cast your vote yet? If not, do you have a plan to do so? Are you worried that the hope you have allowed to creep in over recent days and weeks might be dashed yet again by the electoral college? That perhaps this President will get another 4 years, only this time with even less of the popular vote? Are you tired of being stuck inside, protecting yourself and others from a virus that seems entirely uncontrollable? Are you sick of wearing a mask but also, now that the temperature is dropping, feeling slightly thankful that what was once so oppressive during the summer months is a much more welcome face hat? Are you worried about your economic future? What will become of you in the coming months and years? Have you been noticing more wrinkles and grey hairs? But also…

Are you mad at me?

At the beginning of this pandemic I felt connected, albeit virtually. I was on the phone hours every day. Zooming, FaceTiming, Netflix Parties, regular audio-only phone calls. Constant contact. But then as the days turned to weeks, the weeks to months, these daily conversations became fewer and farther between. Part of it is that we have all settled into some sort of pattern. We have become accustomed to working from home or, in my case, working sporadically from behind a thick piece of plexiglass. We have gotten used to only seeing other members of our household – many of whom have four legs – and feeling wracked with guilt if we venture out to hang with family and friends, regardless of the safety precautions we take. (Truly, those early days of Heavy Internet Shame on anyone who dared leave the house really did a number.) And now the weather is dropping which means no safe backyard bar hangs with friends; no appropriately spaced blankets set out on a patch of grass in the park. Almost 8 months into this isolation. I am tired. I am sick of the phone. I want to give you a hug. But also…

Are you mad at me?

I have found myself texting people less and less often. The calling has become even more infrequent. It’s not that I am upset with anyone or that I love them any less, but for some reason it just feels like a lot to reach out and text, it feels even harder to call. How do we cover all the time that has lapsed? How do we talk about the world and what has happened? How do each of us have space in the midst of this emotionally and psychologically exhausting period to open ourselves up to hold other people’s experiences? I want to help you hold your pain and your worries, but have my own anxieties left me with the extra room? I worry that right now, in the midst of all of this, I cannot be the friend I have always prided myself in being. The one who is always there, who can always listen, who maybe interrupts a little too often (I’m working on it!) but tries to give advice and to understand the gravity of what you are going through. I feel as though right now, I am not a great version of myself and I don’t want you to know me this way. Is that okay? Are we okay? But also…

Are you mad at me?

This worry has been creeping into my mind more and more often. The friends who I text or respond to online who just….don’t reply. I take it personally. I feel as though I have done something wrong. Like somehow I neglected to show up for an important moment or said something unintentionally cruel. The reality is that I also have let texts slip by, have become a little less communicative. And I am sorry for that. I am sorry for how that might have made you feel. I am sorry if you felt I loved you less; cared about you or your family less; was thinking about you less. None of that is true. I am just anxious and sad and lonely and fearful of the coming winter. Probably the same as you. I am afraid of being a less supportive version of myself, less fun, more tearful. I want to go places being the best version of myself and right now that version simply doesn’t exist. And that is really hard.

I hope that’s okay. I hope you’re not mad.

In two days maybe we’ll have a road map for relief. Maybe. Maybe. But until then…

I love you.

(But also….?

….if you are mad at me please tell me so I can fix it.)

Dear Blood Manor

5 Nov

To Whom it May Concern:

My name is Rebekah and last Thursday after work my friend Jessy and I visited your establishment. For Jessy, who loves all things scary and apparently was not afraid of a movie called The Babadook (which, admittedly, I have never heard of and will never be seeing) this was an outing to be excited about. But for me? Totally different story. I agreed to go because I am always down for an adventure but immediately after agreeing I thought to myself,

Self, that was maybe the stupidest decision you ever made.

You see, I startle quite easily. If there is a thunder storm I jump at every single clap. You could say to me,

Rebekah, I am going to hide out around the corner of this hallway and then when you come down the hall and get to that outlet over there I am going to jump out and scream BOO!

And I will walk down the hallway, completely aware of your plan, and still have a near heart attack. It’s awful. I haven’t watched a scary movie since the 7th grade when a few of my girlfriends and I watched Psycho in the basement of my friend’s house. I didn’t sleep through the night for weeks afterwards and I still have flashbacks of that scene where Norman Bates watched the car sink in the lake whenever I see a bag of Raisinets. There was this one time, over a Labor Day weekend, when my roommates and my then-boyfriend were all out of town and I was home by myself and decided to have a Law and Order: SVU marathon in my bedroom. That night I had a dream that I was the victim in the show and that when I went on the witness stand I realized that the judge in the case was actually my attacker and I had to sit there and continue to testify while he stared at me and then all of a sudden <flash forward> and I was running through some dark, damp house and he was chasing after me with a hammer. Only he wasn’t running. He was walking, calmly, and I knew that he would eventually catch me because I was headed for the roof even though I am fully aware that people in these shows always head for the roof and that is their demise because once you get to the top of whatever building there is nowhere else to go but down or dead. Anyway, I woke up at that point and nearly gave myself a stroke from fear when I thought that a sweatshirt hanging over an open closet door was actually a homicidal maniac watching me sleep, waiting for the perfect moment to bash my head in. As you can imagine I am not well suited for haunted houses.

The days leading up to our visit were a blur of anxiety for me. I am not someone who likes to flake and I had given my word so I knew that barring a freak fire that I would have no role in igniting (….) I would be walking through that haunted house. And then, the day came. All day long I hoped my friend Jessy would forget (there was no way) or just become tired and decide she didn’t want to go (she is the energizer bunny!). I thought maybe she would smell the fear radiating off my body and think, well, maybe this isn’t the best idea. But no. There was no escape. So we got on the train and made our way to your house of ghouls, stopping for some liquid bravery en route.

Before I knew it we were waiting on line to enter. As if the screams coming from inside the building weren’t enough to ratchet up the anxiety level, there were some scary people milling about outside, working the line. There was the woman dressed up sort of like a demented Big Bird, the guy on stilts in something that looked like a zombie costume with a tiny little zombie head on its shoulder and gross-looking gauze dangling all over the place, and a lady in a bustier with dollar bills attached to her body, walking around with a stapler trying to entice us to staple dollars to her skin with real staples. I think maybe that requires repeating. She wanted us to use a real staple gun with actual, real metal staples to puncture her skin. There was blood. It was horrible. I hope she got a tetanus shot. There were two guys ahead of us in line who were amused by my fear and I think maybe thought I was flirting with them a little? I don’t know. It was weird. I mean, they couldn’t know this but I would never flirt with someone in line for a haunted house. How could I think about anything other than maintaining a certain level of calmness in the face of sure doom? I mean, I am a multitasker by trade but that is too much. Even for me.

And then, we got into the House. Everything was dark. And loud. There were laser lights. There was this weird robotic thing that was remote-controlled that would lean into you and blow gross, scary air on you as you walked by. Everyone knew I was afraid. Maybe it was the sweat. Maybe it was the eyes darting frantically to and fro. Or perhaps it was the fact that I was holding onto Jessy’s backpack for dear life, audibly weighing the option of walking through the entire house with my eyes closed like I did at those catacombs in Lima. As we began our adventure, they all came straight for me. The rooms were all decorated with gruesome scenes of torture chambers, demented clowns, circuses gone wrong. And then there were people, always people, impeding your progress with their bodies, getting onto your personal space, breathing on you, whispering not-so-sweet somethings into your ears. We darted around them. I felt like we were in a post apocalyptic version of Frogger. One of the dudes leaned into me and said

I am going to follow you home. I will find out where you live. I will rip you apart.

And this is where it all went from fun to maybe not-so-fun. Just so you know, owner of Blood Manor, this is something that we out in the world call triggering. As someone who has had a weird-o do regular drive-bys of my house when I was in high school, who was followed home here in Brooklyn and who was stalked to a hotel in a mountain town in Guatemala, the fear causing me to lose all access to the Spanish-speaking part of my brain, this was not received as emptily as it had been intended. My stomach dropped. My brain swirled. And then we encountered the angry gorilla man. We entered his lair and he herded us into the corner of the room. We looked around – every single door had an exit sign on it. Which way do we go?! How do we get out?! There were people walking towards us from every direction, looking lost. I couldn’t tell whether they were visitors like us or zombies, walking undeterred towards their next victims. I looked around and said, in a semi-panic,

Where do we go? Which way do we go?!

At that moment I sort of felt like maybe we would be in the house forever. And I didn’t know whether or not we could trust the demented gorilla man. Would he send us in the right direction? Would he tell us to go through a door only to lead us back into the room with the clowns, or worse, the one that looked like a root canal gone wrong?! But he didn’t do either of those things. He hissed

You’re fucking the whole thing up!

And called security. We almost got kicked out of the haunted house. Seriously. Jessy and I almost got ejected by a huge dude in black pants and a black, Blood Manor polo for being afraid of a dude in a weird gorilla suit. I felt like I had left Blood Manor and walked straight into Crazy Town. I looked at the security guard in utter disbelief and simply said,

We’re lost. All the doors have exits on them. And it’s dark. How are we supposed to know where to go?

He pointed at one of the three “exits” which led us into a room we had been through before. We walked around, the shine taken off, the fear evaporated. I looked around the room and rather than seeing gruesome scenes I saw poorly designed sets for underfunded plays. And instead of jumping from monsters and the orchestrators of torture chambers, I saw actors in face paint and gauze, simply trying to pay their rent. They got in our faces, we stared back at them dead-pan. There was no more fear, no more fun. We just wanted out. The gorilla man was a total buzz kill.

We emerged from the house pissed off, trying to figure out what we had done to be nearly ejected. Did we make it through the house too quickly, fucking up the flow? Did we make a wrong turn? Or did we just encounter a ghoul at the end of a long, arduous night, his patience on zero after dealing with scores of assholes, who took his anger out on the wrong people? Lord knows as bartenders we have been on the other side of that equation more than once.

It was a weird ending to what was a fun, albeit anxiety inducing, night. It made me think a lot about perception, about what we bring to the table when we enter an interaction, about what it must have been like for the people acting in the house. My ears were ringing from the loud noises for the rest of the night and into the next day and my eyes took a bit to adjust to normal lighting after spending the better part of 1/2 hour being visually assaulted by flashing bulbs and lasers. I can’t imagine it is a comfortable work environment. Or maybe the guy was just an asshole, not well-suited for his role as an undead gorilla. Either way I sort of feel like you ripped us off, Blood Manor. We will not be back next year. Maybe you should look to hire a new gorilla. Oh, and lose the triggering threats.


What I’ve Learned So Far in 2014

6 Jan

I know, I know, 2014 is only 6 days old.  But, whatever, I’m like a sponge.  A sponge of learning.  And since I have found these new tidbits of information so titillating, I figured I would share them all with you.  Isn’t that great?  I think so.

1.  As many of you know, or have read, I have an intense dislike for companies that call me with fake credit offerings and the like.  Over the past few months, I have significantly altered my approach to these calls.  Instead of reporting said companies to the National Do Not Call Registry because it is fucking useless, I have simply been blocking the numbers from my phone!  Every time I get a bullshit call <BAM!>, blocked.  Of course in my case I don’t often receive calls from the same number more than once but still, it is so empowering.  I really feel like I show them, you know?  Anyway, that’s not what I learned.  Here’s what I learned.  I received a call the other day from a restricted number which I answered because my landlord calls me from a restricted number and I like him, he’s nice.  But it wasn’t my landlord at all.  It was a company asking to lower my interest rate.  So, obviously, I got mad and I was feeling sassy so I pressed a number to talk to a person to give them a piece of my mind.  After I had finished telling the dude on the other end what he could do with his lowered interest rates I hung up the phone, feeling good and strong and righteous.  Then I went online to see if other people had received calls from this same dubiously named company, “Card Member Services.”  In my search I found a very useful bit of information:  whenever I press the button to talk to someone to tell them that I think they work for a morally bankrupt operation, their computer algorithm thing thinks that I am a sucker and am actually interested in the “service” the company provides (AKA having them steal my money) and puts my number up towards the top of the calling list.  Then I get more calls!  I am my own worst enemy!  So this is what I learned: do not talk to a representative no matter how sassy you are feeling because, in the end, the joke is on you.

2.  I am not good at email.  This is something I have known for years.  In fact, for the past five years in a row my one and only New Years resolution has been to be better about email.  Every other year I have failed.  Considering it is now the 6th of the month (and year!) and I just checked my email for the first time, I am not feeling much more confident in my potential for success.  See here’s the thing:  my email is mostly junk.  I go in there and delete like a million things and then I have 4 or 5 actual emails that I want to respond to but by that point I’m so frustrated with the junk that I don’t respond to the actual emails.  The result of this is that emails go unanswered and then those people emailing me get frustrated and stop emailing, and then all I have is junk.  Just a bunch of stupid things from Yelp and Madewell and The Center for Food Safety.  So you know what I learned?  Unsubscribing is Life!  I just went on an unsubscribing-fest and it was AMAZING.  Goodbye Yelp! Goodbye Madewell! Goodbye Center for Food Safety!

3.  It’s really cold outside because of something to do with the arctic circle.  It’s so cold, in fact, that tomorrow we will supposedly experience a high of 13 degrees.  For those of you who are a little slow like me, that means that the warmest it will be tomorrow is 13 degrees.  That also means that at times it will be colder than 13 degrees.  Colder than 13 degrees.  I learned that tomorrow is going to be terrible but you know what is worse than tomorrow in Brooklyn?  Today in Minnesota.  The governor of Minnesota closed all the schools in the entire state due to cold weather for the first time since 1997.  So this lesson is two fold.  The first fold is that even though tomorrow is going to be insanely cold at least I can go outside without my face getting frostbitten within 2 minutes.  The second fold is that I never want to live in Minnesota.

4.  Last night I had a really hard time sleeping.  I felt sleepy when I got into bed but then I was wide awake.  I was just lying there, surrounded by cats, unable to move because despite the fact that each of my two cats only weighs 10 pounds they manage to take up all of the space.  I really believe that if I had a bed that was the size of the entire universe, my cats would still sleep in such a way that would leave me curled up uncomfortably in a ball.  Part of the reason I was having trouble sleeping was because I kept having itches. There was the itch on the bottom of my foot.  One under my left arm.  Another one in my hair.  I became convinced that I had bedbugs.  Then I thought, what if the ants escaped!  (They didn’t.)  Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I had the following thought: it would be terrible to be pregnant.  Not that for other people it is terrible.  For other people I think it is great!  I really do.  I love when my friends have kids.  But honestly, whenever one of my friends tells me they are pregnant (which is happening more and more often these days), after I am very happy and excited for them, I think to myself “better her than me.”  So here is the other thing I learned:  I probably should never have children.

5.  The other day I went to a bar to have a glass of wine and read my magazine before I went home, ate vegetarian chile and spent too much time watching shitty television.  There I was, minding my own business, reading about eating horses (???) when I caught the guy two chairs down staring at me.  I decided to pretend like I didn’t see him and went back to reading.  Unsuccessful.  The inevitable happened: he talked to me.

Guy:  Um, excuse me Miss?  I would like to buy you a drink.
Me: Oh, thank you but I actually think I am just going to have the one.  But if I change my mind you’ll be the first to know.
Guy:  (At this point I noticed some slight slurring)  Are you sure?  Because I was going to leave and then come back but only if I can buy you a drink.
Me:  No, I think I’m good.  I’m going to go home and eat dinner.
Guy, staring:  You have just the most beautiful hair.
Me:  Oh, thanks.
Guy:  It looks just like my mother’s.
Me: ……..

My philosophy, by the way, is to never accept a drink from someone at the bar because, aside from the fact that I am seeing someone,  you are then obligated to talk to them.  I mean, despite his obvious mommy-issues I am sure this guy was perfectly nice but no thank you.  Another thing that I learned: avoiding eye-contact with guys at bars is not always effective in combating off-putting pick-up lines.

So I guess that is it.  I guess those are the things that I learned so far in 2014.  Stay tuned because I am sure there will be equally interesting lessons to follow.  And now I will stop procrastinating writing this article that I am supposed to write by rambling on my blog and start procrastinating the article by making the Super Bowl pool thing for my job.  Okay, wait, here is another one.

6.  I love to procrastinate and I am really good at it.